Criminal charges have been dismissed against a Terre Haute businessman connected to a vehicle title scheme

Richard B. Turriff, 63, no longer faces allegations of corrupt business influence, forgery and counterfeiting in Vigo Superior Court 1 after paying about $10,300 in restitution as part of a pre-trial diversion agreement.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in December 2018, the title department of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles contacted police because Turriff's business, R & D Imports, was applying for about 50,000 vehicle titles per year, but "no one has ever seen any cars on the lot" at 3075 S. Timpenny St.

Indiana State Police investigated, and Master Trooper Troy Cobb estimated 50,000 VIN checks as equating to about 137 every day for a year. Cobb said the lot on Timpenny Street is not large enough to store that many cars.

In May 2019, the Vigo County Prosecutor's Office and Turriff entered into a pre-trial diversion agreement to resolve the case. In addition to the restitution, Turriff was required to maintain employment, commit no criminal offenses for 12 months and pay $454 in court fees.

Meanwhile, a co-defendant also charged in the alleged scheme remains wanted on a warrant.

James Passwater, 44, of Terre Haute, was identified in the ISP investigation as a person signing inspection forms for each vehicle identification number,  the affidavit said.

Passwater failed to appear for a court hearing, and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

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